Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 15, 2017

By Cynthia Terrell on September 15, 2017

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​Jane Austen on the Bank of England's 10lb note - see great story here.

Hello friends,

The New York Times had several interesting pieces this week including this opinion piece entitled "Women's Voice Remains Faint in Politics" that decries the lack of women's representation in New York and other cities.
And this piece on Angela Merkel who has lead Germany for the past 12 years examines the role that she has played and her legacy:

Ms. Merkel has not made gender equality a signature issue. But during her time in office things have quietly evolved.

Schools, which traditionally closed at lunchtime, relying on stay-at-home mothers, have gradually lengthened their hours. Child care, once anathema for children under 3, has been vastly extended. A paid parental leave has been introduced that nudges fathers to take at least two months.

More recently, the government passed a law obliging large companies to replace departing members of their nonexecutive boards with women until they made up at least 30 percent.

“She uses the same style of politics for gender that she uses elsewhere: She does not call for a revolution, she starts an evolution,” said Annette Widmann-Mauz, head of the Christian Democrats’ Women’s Union.

But women in Germany are still paid 21 percent less than men — the European average is 16 percent — not least because they do not climb the career ladder. In some areas the number of women in leadership positions has actually been sliding back.

​A terrific Rep2020 supporter John Palmer wrote a very compelling piece on competition in US politics entitled "Almost Zero Competition in our Political Parties, But New Bill Could Change That" which delves into current dysfunction in our electoral process and the positive impact that the Fair Representation Act will have on how parties function:

The Fair Representation Act is a solution that works with the Constitution and will move us significantly in the right direction. It promises better representation, and probably will engender additional viable parties.

The trick of course (with this bill and others) is getting Democrats and Republicans in their safe, gerrymandered seats, to vote for electoral change.

What are you waiting for, America?  Competition is the American way.  That two-party duopoly is not going to tear itself down without you in its face.


The Harvard Business School released a paper by Katherine M Gehl and Michael E Porter entitled "Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America" which is an excellent read if you have time this weekend - they note the need for voting system reforms like ranked choice voting among other remedies:
Too many people—including many pundits, political scientists, and politicians
themselves—are laboring under a misimpression that our political problems are inevitable,
or the result of a weakening of the parties, or due to the parties’ ideological incoherence,
or because of an increasingly polarized American public. Those who focus on these reasons are looking in the wrong places. The result is that despite all the commentary and attention on politics in recent years, there is still no accepted strategy to reform the system and things keep getting worse.

We need a new approach. Our political problems are not due to a single cause, but rather
to a failure of the nature of the political competition that has been created. This is a
systems problem
Another Harvard Business Review story this week offered a topic that merits more discussion - "How to Get Men Involved with Gender Parity Initiatives" seems like a good thing for men to figure out:
The lack of men’s involvement in gender parity initiatives is a problem. Participation in such initiatives can help change men’s minds about the importance of gender parity at work. For example, research suggest that even men who initially hold negative or sexist attitudes regarding the role of women in the workplace become more supportive of gender parity programs (more effectively implement them, for example) when they are actively included in conversations about such programs. Moreover, it appears that men’s attitudes toward gender parity are becoming more positive over time. If these supportive men publicly support gender parity initiatives, they can more effectively counter resistance to such initiatives and act as liaisons to other men who might be more persuaded by “in-group” advocacy.
I discovered a new organization this week called Parity that is seeking gender parity for women in business - glad to see more groups like this forming though it's a good reminder about naming campaigns and programs - Representation2020 has a Pledge for Parity that many of you have signed and other groups may well want to use this terminology and url as well.

I attended a terrific EMERGE America event last night that was chock full of great speakers and great energy! Congratulations to all the EMERGE state orgs, board members and leadership who created such a fantastic event!
Hispanic Heritage Month starts today - click here to learn how you can be a partner throughout the month! You can start by sharing this image on your social media platforms:

And another image to share is this one for VoteRunLead's training in Minneapolis in November:
 

And finally, Liz Popolo volunteers her time and significant creative genius to Voter Choice Massachusetts - she designed this graphic about ranked choice voting that I think you will like - more like it coming soon!
​Happy Friday,

Cynthia

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